If you've fallen into the daily grind of parenting, drop that unfinished pile of laundry for a second and read this Twitter thread. A doctor's recent tweets are reminding parents that what kids value and remember run deeper than frozen dinners and school drop-offs.
For an assignment at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Dr. Alastair McAlpine asked his young terminally ill patients what they enjoyed in life and what gave their lives meaning. McAlpine, who works at the pediatric palliative care center, PaedsPal, shared the kids' profound answers. (Get out the tissues, if you haven't already!)
For an assignment, I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y'know. Here are some of the responses (Thread).
First, the pediatrician made it clear that none of the kids wished they had watched more TV or spent more time on Facebook. Instead, they talked about their pets, swimming at the beach, and their favorite toys and superheroes.
Many of them loved swimming, and the beach. 'I made big sandcastles!' 'Being in the sea with the waves was so exciting! My eyes didn't even hurt!' /7
But what really got us was how many of their first thoughts were about their parents. The kids hoped their moms would be OK or their dads would stop worrying, confident they would meet again soon. They recalled the inspiring stories their parents read to them, from tales of space to the "Harry Potter" series, which one said encouraged bravery.
Significantly, "many wished they had spent less time worrying about what others thought of them, and valued people who just treated them 'normally,'" McAlpine wrote.
These dying wishes went hand in hand with the qualities they valued most: kindness and humor. Whether it was a sympathetic friend who offered half of his lunch or a funny magician, the children's accounts reminded us that teaching kindness and practicing kindness can go a long way. It's important to take the time to be silly and laugh as a family, to spend as much time together as possible. Because as McAlpine's last point showed, "They all valued time with their family. Nothing was more important."
Almost ALL of them valued kindness above most other virtues: 'My granny is so kind to me. She always makes me smile.' 'Jonny gave me half his sandwich when I didn't eat mine. That was nice.' 'I like it when that kind nurse is here. She's gentle.
Almost ALL of them loved people who made them laugh: 'That magician is so silly! His pants fell down and I couldn't stop laughing!' 'My daddy pulls funny faces which I just love!' 'The boy in the next bed farted! Hahaha!' Laughter relieves pain. /9
"Take-home message: Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them. These are things these kids wished they could've done more. The rest is details. Oh ... and eat ice cream," he ended. (Apparently, they all loved ice cream.)
Please excuse us while we go buy some triple chocolate ice cream (to share, not so we can eat our feelings, we swear!).
Thanks, kids, for some much-needed perspective on what really matters.
Nineteen-year-old hotel waitress Liu Wenxiu was walking in downtown Shenzen, China, when she saw a 16-year-old boy standing on a pedestrian bridge with a knife, threatening to jump. With police unable to get him to come down, Wenxiu, who says she has attempted suicide, herself, told authorities she was his girlfriend and went to talk to the boy.
"He told me he didn't have a home anymore, nobody cared about him and no one trusted him. I said nothing but showed him the scars on my right wrist. I used to be suicidal " Liu told a local news station. "He said he's hopeless, 'So don't waste your time to save me'. But I told him, 'I'm not saving your life, I just want you to realize how silly you are being. Look at me, I've been there and I'm now here,'" she said before unexpectedly kissing him, giving police time to bring him to safety. The pair exchanged numbers and the waitress with a life-saving kiss has stayed in touch with him.